A captivating blend of personal biography and public drama, The Wise Men introduces the original best and brightest, leaders whose outsized personalities and actions brought order to postwar chaos: Averell Harriman, the freewheeling diplomat and Roosevelt's special envoy to Churchill and Stalin; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who was more responsible for the Truman Doctrine than Truman and for the Marshall Plan than General Marshall; George Kennan, self-cast outsider and intellectual darling of the Washington elite; Robert Lovett, assistant secretary of war, undersecretary of state, and secretary of defense throughout the formative years of the Cold War; John McCloy, one of the nation's most influential private citizens; and Charles Bohlen, adroit diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union.
This extensive group-portrait by two Time news editors trumpets the role of six policymakersDean Acheson, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, John McCloy Jr., Charles Bohlen, Robert Lovettin taking postWW II America from isolationism to a recognition that the U.S. "would have to assume the burden of a global role.'' The irony is that, as elder statesmen, they sometimes warned against the interventionist momentum they had helped create, as this behind-the-scenes account makes clear. The authors' portrayal of the six as the hidden architects behind the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and Cold War containment will certainly provoke debate. Based on prodigious research, including interviews with four of the six, the tome often sounds like an official biography (``Kennan had tortuously conflicted feelings about being tapped to be part of the American elite'') and the prose echoes Time's style (Dean Rusk, ``the round-faced Georgian''). History buffs will follow with interest the minor revelations that spill forth as the six advise presidents from F. D. R. to L. B. J. Major ad/promo.
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A Wonderful Tale of American Drive During Our Post-War Era
How six great americans, all from privileged beginnings, rose to great heights in government and service. Through friendship and sometime competition, these six colleagues were present at the creation (to quote Mr. Acheson), and integral members of American intelligentsia who helped create the world we live in today. A great read-- like a novel, intrigue, mystery, relationships, and challenge-- it is hard to remember that the book describes real events and real men doing great things. The book is inspirational. While I am a big fan of both authors, this book garners the benefits of their collaboration. It's simply great. One of my all time favorites.
Outstanding and comprehensive review of 20th Century diplomacy
The authors ability to intertwine the lives of these patriots through history is like a factual Michener novel. The research done and the detail written make this a compelling read. Knowing that the characters are real and the events actual makes this book all the more important and informative.